Football Association Malawi (FAM) says it will follow Fifa recommendation of 30 000 capacity for Bingu National Stadium (BNS) when the Flames face Lesotho in an international friendly this Saturday.
The world football governing body, in its report compiled by United Kingdom-based safety and security experts Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), recommended that the stadium should accommodate 30 000 spectators until more entry and exit points are constructed.
Fifa engaged the firm to inspect the newly-constructed stadium following a stampede that killed eight people, including seven children during Independence Day celebrations on July 6.
The report from SGSA states that the stadium has good facilities for both spectators and sports participants, but that more exit and entry points are required.
“The entry to the site consists of four outer perimeter entry gates but only two of the entry gates, of 6.16 metres width are used for an event. The two outer perimeter entry gates then lead to 24 inner cordon entry points to access the stadium itself.
“The SGSA recognises that the culture in Africa is that spectators arrive very early and over a much longer period. Assuming that entry
period before the start of the event, the SGSA view is that the adjusted safe capacity could be set at 31 680.s permitted over a two-hour
“Our opinion is that to reach the 40 009-desired capacity would require an additional seven inner cordon entry points of 900mm width each and for all safety management issues detailed in this report to be implemented.”
FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said they will print 30 000 tickets for the match.
He said: “For us, it’s not just about the Fifa recommendations. It’s also about being realistic. Are we really serious that the match between Malawi and Lesotho can attract 40 000 spectators? Filling that stadium to capacity in a paying match is not a joke. The best we have reached in other matches is around 30 000 tickets. By the way printing those 40 000 tickets is also expensive. So, yes we have settled for the Fifa recommended capacity of 30 000.”
On the recommendations of extra gates, Gunda said they will meet other stakeholders soon after the Lesotho match.
He said: “The report was sent to all relevant authorities and by now, they have gone through it and should be ready to discuss the way forward. The meeting will decide which recommendations can be implemented.”
Director of sports in Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Jameson Ndalama, said his ministry is yet to discuss the Fifa report.
He, however, said they are ready to implement the recommendations from Fifa.
“The only challenge is the way the stadium was designed. It will be difficult to just construct the entry and exit points without consulting the contractor who built the facility,” he said.
The stadium was opened in January this year. n